In 2016, Facebook joined the ranks of the ever-growing number of social media sites that offer live video streaming, and the feature is quickly growing in popularity. Facebook itself is pretty invested in growing Facebook life, which Zuckerberg reportedly views as key to the next phase of the social media giant’s growth. Live video gives users a new way to interact with one another and, perhaps most pertinently, it gives brands a new way to interact with their customers, meaning it has the potential to totally change the relationship between digital marketing and social media.
However, with that being said, Facebook Live is still quite new. It can be hard for marketers to know how much time, energy, and resources they should be devoting to Facebook live, particularly when there are so many other digital marketing activities to engage in. So, just how important is Facebook live? We’re here to break down everything you need to know about this new social media tool.
The Growth of Facebook Live
Facebook is home to the largest digital audience in the world – more than 1.5 billion people. Broadcasting live on Facebook means that a digital marketer or advertiser can tap into this using nothing more than a smartphone. Facebook clearly recognizes the potential power of live video and is working hard to drive and sustain its growth.
“Facebook has thrown resources at its live-streaming product. Extensive developer time, ad budget, and media partnerships are all devoted to ensuring that it’s a success, thanks in part to orders from the very top,” Alex Hern explained in the Guardian earlier this year. “Facebook has also been on an ad blitz, coating key markets such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and London with adverts encouraging users to go live.”
Facebook has been specifically targeting celebrities and influencers in an attempt to grow the platform. For example, Facebook has reportedly paid out $3.05 million, $3.03 million, and $2.5 million to Buzzfeed, the New York Times, and CNN respectively to encourage them to use the Facebook Live platform. All in all, it has reportedly doled out a staggering $50 million to publishers and celebrities alike in an attempt to bolster the visibility and popularity of the Facebook Live platform.
“Facebook reportedly has a plan to get celebrities and media companies in on the live action by paying them,” Julia Greenberg explains in Wired. “That may hint at Facebook’s future. Imagine if Facebook one day streams live sports games, live music festivals, or even live Q&As (like Reddit IAmAs) with really interesting people. Imagine, too, the advertising opportunities for companies to, say, sponsor a one-time-only live event or to stream a celebrity spokesperson using their products. Live could become a reason to sign onto Facebook, and Facebook’s hoping it’s another reason to stay.”
Facebook’s efforts appear to be paying off. Between January and May of last year, Facebook saw over a 300 percent increase in Live videos from media companies. In January of 2016, just 11 percent of Facebook pages for media companies had posted any kind of live video, but just five months later, that number had grown to 44 percent, which is pretty impressive growth. It is estimated that by August 2017, Facebook’s video views – including live video views – could grow to more than 54 billion video views per day. Ultimately, Facebook Live continues to grow, and it looks like that growth will only continue to rapidly accelerate.
What Digital Marketers Need to Know
So, Facebook Live is clearly growing. But, why, as a digital marketer, should you pursue a Facebook Live strategy? Well, the truth is there are a number of good reasons. Let’s take a look.
· Facebook Live is a cost-effective marketing tool. Producing high-quality, engaging content certainly isn’t cheap. Compared to developing the perfect blog post or producing high-quality images, live video is actually fairly economical. And when done well, live video offers an excellent ROI.
“Broadcasting live on Facebook allows you to reach your target audience with nothing more than the smartphone in your pocket. Using an iPhone camera is one of the easiest ways to begin broadcasting on Facebook, which makes the feature ideal for small businesses,” Kate Harrison explains in Forbes. “Recording studio quality videos can be expensive and time-consuming to produce, so being able to push content immediately, with tools you already have, is a golden opportunity to reach your audience at a low cost.”
· Facebook Live is an excellent way to drive engagement. Customers are increasingly engaging with live video. In fact, research shows that people watch live videos for a much longer time span than they do non-live videos, tuning in for over three times as longer. Capturing and maintaining your customers’ attention can be a challenge, and if live video is leveraged effectively, it can help you to do so.
In order to maximize engagement, make sure you let your customers know when you will be broadcasting in advance. And to encourage customers to tune into your live videos, you might want to consider offering some kind of incentive for participation. For example, you might want to host a giveaway, offering those who tune in the change to win one of your products or a gift card if they comment on or share your video stream.
· Facebook Live allows brands to connect with their customers in real time. Facebook Live is arguably one of the easier ways for brands to connect with their audiences, allowing them to interact with customers in real time. For example, when brands use Facebook Live, users can ask questions that can be monitored and answered in real time when you’re broadcasting live, which helps customers feel like the experience is personalized. This can of connection is truly invaluable and certainly something brands should seek to capitalize on as they develop digital marketing strategies that incorporate live video.
“Video content is crazy popular right now, and it’s only going to grow faster as the years progress. In-the-moment, or real-time updates are also becoming increasingly popular in the social media world,” Jayson Demers explained in Forbes. “These updates demand closer attention and seem more sincere, so they get greater emphasis from users.” Live video is particularly popular with younger generations, notably millennials, so for brands wanting to connect with their younger customers, the platform is without a doubt particularly valuable.
The bottom line is that a well-executed Facebook Live strategy can be an incredibly powerful form of marketing for your brand, helping to drive engagement and meaningful real-time interaction in a cost-effective way. And because it is still a relatively new platform that is still taking off, getting in on the action now can be an excellent way to help your brand to stand out from the crowd.
Now Is the Time to Get Your Brand on Facebook Live
The final verdict? Facebook live is already pretty important, and it will only become more important with time. Brands need to learn how to master the art of Facebook Live in order to succeed in the world of digital marketing. If you haven’t already developed a Facebook live strategy for your brand, now is the time to start. Reach out to us today!